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Alabama Visitors’ Guide

alabama tourist guide

Looking to explore the rich history of Alabama or enjoy a relaxing beach vacation? This Alabama Visitors’ Guide has you covered with everything you need to know about the best places to stay, eat, and play in the Yellowhammer State.

From fascinating museums to exciting Mardi Gras celebrations, there’s something for everyone in beautiful Alabama.

alabama tourist guide

Table of Contents

Alabama’s French and Spanish Heritage

Alabama is a state with a rich French and Spanish heritage. Mobile, the state’s oldest city, was founded by French colonists in 1702. The city was later ruled by Spain for nearly 40 years. Today, Mobile is home to the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States.

French and Spanish influences can also be seen in the architecture of many of Alabama’s historic buildings. The city’s unique history and culture have left their mark on its buildings. From the grandiose Cathedral to the pretty pastel Victorian houses, Alabama has a rich architectural heritage.

Native American Influence

Alabama is also home to a number of Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Creek. Visitors can learn about the state’s Native American history at the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission or the Moundville Archaeological Site.

Moundville is home to a number of ancient Native American mounds, and it was once the largest city in North America. Today, visitors can explore the mounds, visit a museum, and take part in educational programs.

Black History

Alabama has a long and rich history of African-American culture. Visitors can learn about this history at a number of sites, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.

The state is also home to a number of famous African-American figures, including civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and musician Nat King Cole. Visitors can learn about their lives and contributions at the various museums and historical sites dedicated to them.

There is also a number of festivals and events that celebrate black culture, including the Alabama Black Heritage Festival, the Gospel Music Workshop of America, and the National Black Arts Festival.

alabama tourist guide

A Vacation Guide to Alabama for Every Type of Traveler

Places to stay:.

When visiting Alabama, there are many great places to stay. In the heart of the state is Montgomery, the capital, which offers a variety of hotels and bed and breakfasts.

For a more laid-back experience, consider staying in one of the state’s coastal towns, such as Gulf Shores or Orange Beach. These towns are known for their beautiful beaches, restaurants, and shops.

If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, there are also several campgrounds located throughout Alabama. 

Places to eat:

In Alabama, be sure to check out these great places to eat!

In Birmingham, you can’t go wrong with the barbecue at Dreamland or the Southern cooking at Miss Myra’s. For a casual bite, try the burgers at Jack Brown’s or the pizzas at Fleetwood’s. And if you’re in the mood for something sweet, don’t miss the pies at Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen.

Down in Mobile, you’ll find excellent seafood at Wintzell’s Oyster House and superb steaks at Spot of Dinner.

On the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast, be sure to visit The Hangout for lively fun and amazing seafood.

Things to do:

The state has a rich French and Spanish heritage, as well as a long history of Native and African-American culture. You can learn about these cultures at various museums and historical sites throughout the state.

Obviously, we can’t pack everything into this one post! So, pick your city and get to exploring!

Choose a Town or City to Visit:

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just a relaxing vacation, Alabama has something to offer everyone. So come on down and experience all that the Yellowhammer State has to offer!

  • Downtown Mobile, AL

Have you visited Alabama? What are some of your favorite things to do in this state?

Let us know in the comments below!

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42 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Alabama

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: November 20, 2020  - Last updated: October 15, 2023

best things to do in Alabama

Alabama, known also as The Cotton State and the Heart of Dixie, is a beautiful place with delicious food, delightful natural landscapes, deep historic roots, and of course, football galore!

It’s packed with lots of options for what to see, no matter what you’re interested in, so there is a lot to add to your vacation ideas.

How can you decide what tourist hotspots you’ll want to check out when you arrive?

To help you out, here is our travel guide for 42 things to do and places to visit in Alabama that you should add to your bucket list.

Table of Contents

1. U.S. Space & Rocket Center

U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Michael Gordon / Shutterstock

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is a unique museum that should be among any space-lovers’ list of where to visit in the state of Alabama.

Located in Huntsville , this museum showcases the history of the space program of the United States through information and artifacts.

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is both a Marshall Space Flight Center for NASA and a Smithsonian Affiliate, and it’s also considered one of the largest space museums on the planet.

More than 1,500 different artifacts are on display and it boasts one of the biggest collections of its kind.

Among the most exhibits at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center are memorabilia and items from Army rocketry and aircraft, the Apollo program, the International Space Station, and the Space Shuttle program.

It can tell you all about the Space Race and the evolution of space exploration.

Some of the best things you need to check out are the genuine Apollo 16 capsule, a Skylab solar array, capsule trainers, and space travel simulators.

A number of traveling exhibits occasionally stop by here, and two camp programs are held at the museum.

There are also movies shown every day at the National Geographic Theater and the IMAX Theater, and you can tour the grounds with a bus tour.

All in all, this is one of the most fun things to do in Alabama.

Address: 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States

2. Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum

Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum

Tim Daugherty / Shutterstock

The Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum is one of the key architectural points of interest in Alabama.

It’s one of the most beautiful buildings that the great Frank Llyod Wright created in America and the only one by him at all in the state.

In 1940, the Rosenbaum house was created for one family: Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum.

Until 1999. Mildred would continue to live here, and then the house was entirely donated to the city of Florence.

It stands now as a prime example of the Usonian style of Wright, an aesthetic that only arose following the Great Depression.

“Usonian” is a bit of an acronym, basically meaning “United States of North American”, and the buildings in this style were designed to be affordable, functional, and well-blended with the world around them.

This meant natural materials with lots of horizontal lines, glass windows, and cantilevered roofs.

Wright had this down to a T, with a large open living space, cozy appearance, and even an added extension that fit perfectly when the Rosenbaum family grew to include four sons.

In 1948, more sleeping room was added as well as a Japanese garden, and Wright was extremely happy with this – it was a sign of practicality that the building could be so easily changed and extended.

While not the most fun design of Wright’s homes, a trip here will give you a new appreciation for the architect’s genius.

It definitely should be on your list of places to go!

Address: 601 Riverview Dr, Florence, AL 35630, United States

3. Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores

Jim Vallee / Shutterstock

Gulf Shores is a beautiful destination to head to this weekend as one of the best beach locations in Alabama.

It’s packed with different options for what to do, no matter what kind of trip you’re seeking.

32 miles of white-sand beaches cover the area.

Local attractions cover things like museums, shopping, art, and golf.

Naturally, there are also plenty of water activities to enjoy, like parasailing, boating, kayaking, jet-skiing, fishing, paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and cruises.

You can also simply lounge on the beach and relax, or work on a tan!

4. Huntsville Botanical Garden

Huntsville Botanical Garden

Steven L. Gordon / Shutterstock

Termed as one of the most popular vacation spots , the Huntsville Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Alabama and also one of its top attractions, welcoming about 308,000 visitors on an annual basis.

It’s open all throughout the year, no matter the season, so it’s a great, reliable option.

One of the most loved spots within the Huntsville Botanical Garden is the Nature Center and Children’s Garden, which is the home of the biggest seasonal butterfly house in America.

It’s also specially designed just for kids, with themed spaces like a space garden, dinosaur garden, and storybook garden.

There are also many other gardens for people of all ages, such as the biblical garden, fern glade, daylily garden, and herb garden, and there’s also a cool nature trail to check out.

Seasonal events are often held during the year, such as the Scarecrow Trail, Huntsville Blooms, Galaxy of Lights, and Beaks and Barks.

Check the Huntsville Botanical Garden calendar to see if you’ll be in town at the right time to catch something exciting!

Address: 4747 Bob Wallace Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States

Mobile

Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for places to vacation by the sea, or just want a place with a lot of historical activities, you’ll do well with Mobile , a port city with a rich past.

It sits on Alabama Gulf Coast, providing visitors with southern hospitality, fun attractions, and lots of historic districts to take a look at.

In Mobile, you’ll have your fill of art museums, performance art, and coastal wonder.

Check out the 1850 Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, wander the beaches for some relaxation, or check out the carnival.

There’s enough to do to keep you busy this weekend!

6. USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Allard One / Shutterstock

The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is where you’ll find the USS Alabama, a ship that began construction on the 1st of February in 1940.

It was completed two years later and showed off in an elaborate ceremony.

Captain George B. Wilson became its commander that year on the 16th of August, and about a year later, it would have its first military engagement.

In 1962, the ship was ordered to be scrapped, and it remained unused for the most part until the Battleship Memorial Park was set up in 1977.

Today, the battleship holds status as a national historic landmark and stands alongside many other historic vessels, including fellow national historic landmark USS Drum, which is a submarine.

Both of the aforementioned ships are vessels from World War II.

The Battleship Memorial Park also has some other interesting features, like a patrol boat used during the Vietnam War, military equipment, fighter and bomber planes, and Vietnam War and Korean War Memorials.

It’s no surprise that this location is one of the most rewarding spots for history buffs, and it’s certainly among the state’s top 10 attractions!

Address: 2703 Battleship Pkwy, Mobile, AL 36603, United States

7. McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

The McWane Science Center is a fun and exciting spot that is one of the main places to see in the state for families with children.

It opened its doors in 1998 and has been thrilling children with informational but entertaining science ever since.

Measuring over 9,000 square feet in total, it is packed with interactive exhibits, a Challenger Learning Center, and an IMAX Dome theater.

Over 500,000 different artifacts are on display here, covering a wide range of different scientific topics.

This includes precious minerals, Native American artifacts, and fossils, like an 80-foot whale fossil that is the official state fossil.

Permanent exhibits are diverse, with favorites like the World of Water Aquarium, Explore! Collections Center, the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, Alabama Dinosaurs, Itty Bitty Magic City, Sea Monsters, the Fox 6 Weather Lab, Science on a Sphere, NatureScope, and High Cycle.

Each one is full of interactive activities that make for a fantastic learning experience.

Address: 200 19th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

8. Cheaha State Park

Cheaha State Park

Steve Bower / Shutterstock

The Cheaha State Park is the oldest state park in Alabama, opened in 1933 and boasting about 2,800 acres of land in Northern Clay and Cleburne.

It’s one of the best places to spend time in for all the park activities you can think of: sightseeing, hiking, camping, water sports – you name it!

At the Cheaha State Park, you can head to the camp sites, outfitted with modern amenities, or go to the Cheaha Lodge that boasts a swimming pool and 30 hotel rooms.

If you’re not looking to stay long, head to bodies of water for fishing, swimming, or boat launches.

You can also just go hiking to all the different scenic spots with gorgeous views, following loved paths like the Chinnabee Silent Trail, the Pinhoti Trail, and the Odum Scout Trail.

Aside from the usual park amenities, the Cheaha State Park also has a restaurant and general store.

In other words, this is one of the most well-outfitted Alabama attractions for visitors who want a lot of options!

Address: 19644 AL-281, Delta, AL 36258, United States

9. Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

travelview / Shutterstock

The Bellingrath Gardens and Home are truly historic and worth the trip for sightseeing purposes alone.

The grounds cover 900 beautiful acres with the Gardens being the main attraction in this large space in Theodore.

With numerous fun features that make this one of the state’s most delightful tourist attractions, the Bellingrath Gardens and Home provides plenty to do and enjoy.

The great lawn, bridal garden, and conservatory are among top picks on this garden property.

You can also enter the home, which measures 10,500 square feet and dates back to 1935.

It was built by Mobile native and architect George B. Rogers with handmade brick.

Ironwork comes from the Southern Hotel and the entire building gives off a vibe that can only be likened to the Gulf Coast.

It’s also an interesting way of looking at the architectural history of the general area.

The Bellingrath Gardens and Home have 65 acres dedicated to non-stop color through flowers, no matter what time of year it is.

Azaleas brighten the spring.

Tropical plants, roses, and hydrangeas bloom in the summer.

Chrysanthemums take over in the fall.

And, finally, camellias – 400 kinds of them! – cover the grounds in winter.

Take a self-guided tour through the stunning land and feast your eyes on the flora!

Address: 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd, Theodore, AL 36582, United States

10. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Brett Welcher / Shutterstock

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute should be on the bucket list of any American history buff.

Civil rights activists were highly active in Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, and as such, it makes sense that Birmingham in the state is the site of one of the best places to learn about this powerful movement.

In 1992, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute opened its doors for the first time, welcoming 25,000 guests in its first week alone.

It tells the story of the development of civil rights, the actions of those who fought for it, and the struggle that still continues to this day for equal treatment.

The things to see within the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute are explorable independently through self-guided walks.

As you pass through the exhibits, you’ll follow the journey of the movement and end on a positive note, as the institute hopes to light a spark of hope for the future through its message.

Address: 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

11. Florence

Florence

Ace Eaton / Shutterstock

Florence is one of the most famous Alabama vacation spots, home to a wide range of scenic, educational, and fun attractions.

Located in Alabama’s northwestern side, it is full of outdoor activities, historical locations, and kid-friendly spots for the whole family.

Only 40,000 people live in Florence, and as a small town, it’s a pretty famous tourist location.

It hosts quaint and delightful events, like the W C Handy Music Festival, and provides vibrancy and life to an already bright state.

12. Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island

George Dodd III / Shutterstock

Dauphin Island is set within the Gulf of Mexico’s lush waters.

It is a barrier island, across Alabama Port, and accessible through a bridge spanning three miles from the mainland.

As a getaway, it is nothing short of serene – trails for walking are teeming with greenery, beaches glisten with white sand and blue surf, and rare birds fly about, waiting for bird-watchers to spot them.

If you’re keen to explore Dauphin Island, then renting a bike is a must do.

With a bike, you’ll be able to more easily visit the many unique spots on the island, including historic parks, lovely parks, and tropical delights.

It’s known as the Sunset Capital of Alabama for its gorgeous vistas of the horizon, too.

No wonder it’s one of the best things to do in Alabama and one of the most beautiful places to go in the US !

13. Rosa Parks Library and Museum

Rosa Parks Library and Museum

Mccallk69 / Shutterstock

You’re likely familiar with the inspiring but harrowing story of Rosa Parks, an African-American woman who, in 1955, refused to give her seat to a white man on the bus.

Her brave action sparked the beginning of an uptick in civil rights activism and led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

In the Rosa Parks Library and Museum , her legacy is honored today.

You’ll find the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery , where its doors are open five days a week.

The museum has an online virtual tour but is certainly worth an in-person trip.

Housed in the former Empire Theatre building, it is split into six different areas that each tell a unique part of Rosa Parks’ story.

Popular exhibits here include a replica of the bus where the inciting incident occurred, a station wagon restored from 1955, and some original documents relating to this historic event.

Other features include an auditorium, “time machine”, conference room, classrooms, and archives.

A children’s wing is available onsite to allow children to learn about Rosa Parks in age-friendly and educational ways.

History buffs should definitely have this museum on their list of what to do in Alabama.

Address: 251 Montgomery Street, Montgomery, AL 36104, United States

14. Alligator Alley

Alligator Alley

Fsendek / Shutterstock

No trip to Alabama is complete without a stop at Alligator Alley .

Located in Summerdale, this alligator farm is a haven for lovers of the reptile and for anyone who is interested in learning more about them.

It’s one of the state’s cool things to do, packed with fun, excitement, and plenty of activities.

Alligator Alley was set up in 2004 in Alabama as a farm with a natural environment for these many-toothed reptiles.

The alligators here have come from all sorts of bad situations, rescued from dangerous environments, and brought here to live a healthier life in a better home.

There are also some other animals that have been taken in, either – you can find bullfrogs, owls, ospreys, and turkeys in different areas of the grounds.

A guided adventure takes you through Alligator Alley, beginning at the impressive viewing platform elevated above the ground.

Through it, you can see more than a whopping 450 alligators of all different ages engaging in their daily lives: sunbathing, nesting, courting, and relaxing!

Once the tour is done, you’ll get to head to the gator station, where you’ll be able to hold an adorable baby alligator.

Don’t forget to stick around for the feedings, which happen three times daily; you might even get to participate!

Address: 19950 Co Rd 71, Summerdale, AL 36580, United States

15. Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines

Joseph Creamer / Shutterstock

Fort Gaines is an excellent option among Alabama destinations for a sightseeing stop.

Located on Dauphin Island, it provides all-around views of the beautiful sand and surf, and its wealth of history makes it one of the best places to stop by when you’re on the Gulf Coast this weekend.

The Fort has been around for over 150 years and has been kept surprisingly well-preserved, remaining on the “entrance” to the stunning Mobile Bay.

It boasts its original canons and kitchen to this very day, as well as a blacksmith’s shop.

There is also a museum and gift shop on the premises, and guided tours are conducted by staff in period costumes who take you through the many interesting tunnels.

You’ll get to watch the art of smithing and even see a cannon fire!

Fort Gaines is considered one of America’s most endangered historic locations, which makes it a rare find in Alabama but also one of the most melancholy.

It was once a key factor in the Battle of Mobile Bay and is the site of the famous “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” order from Admiral Farragut.

If you do plan to go to this location, be aware of the erosion on the shoreline.

Address: 51 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

16. Birmingham Zoo

Birmingham Zoo

Deborah Ferrin / Shutterstock

The Birmingham Zoo is a zoological part that covers 122 acres of its titular town.

More than 470,000 visitors head here on a yearly basis, and there are lots of activities held throughout the year that make it worth a trip while you’re in Alabama.

It opened in 1955 with only a handful of animals in a firehouse and has since grown to accommodate over 800 individual animals from 200 different species.

Some of the most fun attractions around the Birmingham Zoo are the Kangaroo Kountry, Predator Building, Flamingo Lagoon, Primate Building, and Alligator Swamp.

If you’re looking for more stuff to do, keep an eye out for camel rides, available seasonally, and the Sea Lions Splash Show.

There is also the delightful Schaeffer Eye Center Lorikeet Aviary, which charges a small fee to let you interact with and feed birds!

Address: 2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223, United States

17. Ave Maria Grotto

Ave Maria Grotto

Larry Porges / Shutterstock

The Ave Maria Grotto in Benedictine Abbey is an impressive work of art that makes it one of the best places to visit of religious and general artistic significance.

It comprises more than 125 different little miniature reproductions of buildings, shrines, and churches across the planet.

The Ave Maria Grotto was built by Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Brother of the Order who resided in St. Bernard Abbey.

He was born in Bavaria but arrived here in 1892.

In his time here, he began work on the Grotto, which was actually just a project he did as a hobby.

He used recycled materials and the Grotto soon grew into a famous feature of the Abbey.

For three acres, the grotto will transport you away from Alabama and onto the streets of many beautiful locations in different parts of the world.

It is even commonly called “Jerusalem in Miniature”, and it’s an apt name for such a masterpiece.

Address: 1600 St Bernard Dr, Cullman, AL 35055, United States

18. Birmingham Museum of Art

Birmingham Museum of Art

The Birmingham Museum of Art is one of the must do Alabama attractions for art aficionados.

It is considered among the finest art collections in Alabama, and perhaps even in the Southeast of the country.

It opened its doors in 1951, has the support of an education program, and is home to more than 25,000 exhibits.

Multiple cultures are well-represented at the Birmingham Museum of Art through decorative works, paintings, and sculptures.

You’ll find work from Africa, Asia, America, and Europe, and from Native American and Pre-Columbian cultures.

The museum also has amazing Renaissance, Wedgwood, and Baroque art collections, and the Vietnamese ceramics collection is to die for!

Noted artists with works here are Carrie Hill, a landscape artist, and Hannah Elliot, a miniaturist.

Address: 2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

19. Cathedral Caverns State Park

Cathedral Caverns State Park

Diegoandrade , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Cathedral Caverns State Park can be found in Marshall County, just southeast of Alabama’s Woodville.

The state park is named after a stunning cavern within it that is known as one of the best tourist attractions in the area.

The magnificent Cathedral Caverns were once simply known as the Bat Cave, but it completely naturally looks like a cathedral, earning in its current title.

The Cathedral Caverns are always 60 degrees in temperature, and they greet you with a giant entrance measuring 25 feet in height and 126 feet in width.

11,000 feet have been traversed, but 2,700 feet more of the Caverns are still closed as they have not yet been surveyed.

Gem mining, cave tours, camping, and picnics can all be done here.

The most stunning of the Cathedral Caverns’ sights is Goliath, which might be the largest natural column in the world.

The stalagmite has a 3-inch diameter, a 243-foot circumference, and a height of 45 feet.

It reaches the ceiling, 25 feet above, at an angle that makes room for it.

It’s the centerpiece of the state park and a masterwork of nature!

Address: 637 Cave Rd, Woodville, AL 35776, United States

20. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is situated on 740 acres of ground in Birmingham.

It is the home of the world’s most comprehensive and fine collections of vintage automobiles and motorcycles.

It was created by George Barber, who has a private collection of vintage motorcycles thanks to his interest in them.

He used his collection to open the museum in 1988.

Barber was more than just a collector, though.

He had 63 first-place wins from racing Porches and was advised by his friend, Dave Hooper, to focus on motorcycles due to the common collections of cars already existing.

Barber listened and began gathering what is now the biggest collection of motorcycles in the world.

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum now has more than 1,450 motorcycles that span over a century of production from 20 different countries.

Famous bikes onsite include everything from common brands like Honda and Harley-Davidson to rarer ones like Cagiva and DSK.

Aside from motorcycles, the museum is also home to a fun collection of Lotus racecars – the biggest of its kind worldwide!

There’s no denying that the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is one of the state’s things to see that shouldn’t be missed for motorcycle enthusiasts!

Address: 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, AL 35094, United States

21. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

Heather Cowper / flickr

The F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is situated in Montgomery, and as the sole museum exclusive to its subject, is one of the top points of interest for renowned author F. Scott Fitzgerald in the world.

The Fitzgeralds came to live in the house in 1931, at the same time that the writer was working on screenwriting Red-Headed Woman and authoring the novel Tender Is The Night.

Only a year later, a mental breakdown would see his wife, Zelda, admitted to a clinic in Baltimore.

That April, Fitzgerald would vacate the home with his child.

The house was set up to be knocked down in 1986, but two people rallied to save it: Julian and Leslie McPhillips.

They also set up the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Association and the house was officially opened as a museum the following year.

It is now the last house ever lived in by either Fitzgerald or his wife that remains standing now in Montgomery.

The house itself is interesting to explore.

Its foyer leads to a number of different directions, with the museum being situated on the first floor and apartments located above.

The apartments are now actually used as the Zelda and Scott Suites, which are an AirBnB location.

If you book a room for the night, museum entry is complimentary, so it could be among the free things to do if you decide to stay here!

A tour of the museum starts with a video that dates back to the 1980s.

It is 30 minutes long and tells the tale of the Fitzgeralds and their home.

The rest of the museum is backed with personal items, photos, letters, and books relating to the author and his family.

Address: 919 Felder Ave # 919, Montgomery, AL 36106, United States

22. Unclaimed Baggage Center

Unclaimed Baggage Center

Unclaimed Baggage Center

The Unclaimed Baggage Center is one of the best cool places that you can check out in Alabama.

It is in Scottsboro and is one of the many places that unclaimed baggage may end up in order to find new homes somewhere.

Many airlines provide reimbursements to customers whose luggage or cargo is lost, and then the eventually located luggage may then be sold.

The Unclaimed Baggage Center, which opened in 1970, is one of the businesses that purchase such lost items.

They first opened as a part-time business in 1970 before a full expansion in 1995 that led to it reaching the size of a city block!

Over 7,000 new items are brought in daily, so the selection is wide-ranging and interesting.

At the Unclaimed Baggage Center, you’ll find a large amount of clothing predominantly, but there are many other items as well.

Electronics, books, jewelry, sporting goods, cameras, and actual luggage are also common finds.

There are also rarer and more unique items occasionally; some that have been reported over the years are a parachute, a suit of armor, a fighter jet system, gemstones, and a whole live rattlesnake!

The rarest items can be viewed in the museum on site.

This includes artifacts from Egypt, Hoggle from Labyrinth by Jim Hensen, and even a 1700s violin.

There’s a reason over a million people come to check this place out annually – it’s just cool!

Address: 509 W Willow St, Scottsboro, AL 35768, United States

23. Little River Canyon

Little River Canyon

Julie rubacha / Shutterstock

The Little River Canyon is a national reserve that can be found close to Fort Payne, on Alabama’s Lookout Mountain.

It is the site of America’s longest mountaintop river, and it’s truly one of the most beautiful places to go in the state.

The canyon is often considered the deepest of its kind east of the Mississippi River and was originally called May’s Gulf.

There are a number of fun ways to keep yourself occupied if you visit Little River Canyon.

Backcountry camping is possible in Hartline’s Ford, Billy’s Ford, and Slant Rock.

Fishing and hunting can be performed with a license, too.

If you prefer, you can also just drive along the edge of the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway to get a 23-mile gorgeous view around the rim of the canyon.

Address: 4322 Little River Trail #100, Fort Payne, AL 35967, United States

24. Fairhope

Fairhope

N.A. Qurashi / Shutterstock

Fairhope is a lovely, picturesque location that has a small-town vibe, which makes it one of many more laid-back vacation ideas in Alabama.

Perfect for exploring the shores and cliffs of Mobile Bay this weekend through the delightful, whimsical locations it has to offer.

Among Fairhope’s most famed places to visit is Fairhope Avenue, which has plenty of unique and interesting shops, eateries, and galleries, as well as storybook-like lights at night.

There is also the Fairhope Pier, the rose garden, tours through horseback and boat, and more.

25. Mobile Carnival Museum

Mobile Carnival Museum

EQRoy / Shutterstock

The Mobile Carnival Museum is the best way to get a glimpse into Mardi Gras history in Alabama.

This is because Mobile was the location of the very first Mardi Gras (or Carnival) in the New World of French Louisiana in 1703.

The Mobile Carnival Museum tells its tales through photographs, costumes, floats, gowns, jewels, and posters, all dating as far back as 1886 and as current as the modern day.

As one of the most fun things to do in Alabama, it showcases all the unique and fascinating parts of Mardi Gras and Carnival evolution over the decades.

Address: 355 Government St, Mobile, AL 36602, United States

26. Bryant Denny Stadium

Bryant Denny Stadium

Rob Hainer / Shutterstock

The Bryant Denny Stadium rests on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

It’s one of the key places of interest for sports fans and was set up in 1929.

At first, it only has 18,000 or so seats, but it has since grown to be capable of accommodating more than 100,000 people!

Over the years, the Bryant Denny Stadium has become one of the country’s main venues for college football.

If you love sports as entertainment, you’ll likely be able to watch a game if you catch tickets on time.

If not, book a tour of the stadium in advance in order to go on one of the daily tours, which caps at 25 people.

If you’re a die-hard sports fan, you’ll also probably want to catch the Iron Bowl, which takes place here in even-numbered years!

It’s a fun mashup between the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, which are the state’s two biggest rivals in the sport of college football.

Address: 920 Paul W Bryant Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, United States

27. Dismals Canyon

Dismals Canyon

JMcQ / Shutterstock

The Dismals Canyon comes alive when night falls.

Dismalites!

Dismalites are a kind of gnat larvae, commonly called “glowworms”, which doesn’t sound very appealing, but they’re a must see if you’re in Alabama thanks to their rarity alone.

Dismalites, officially called the North American Orfelia fultoni, can only survive in specific habitats when they are still larvae, so they can only be found in very few locations.

They need hanging surfaces to build webs on, humidity to keep them moist, darkness so its lights can show, and still air in order to keep web lines steady.

Alongside Cumberland Plateau and the Appalachian Mountains, Dismals Canyon is one of the places to see that has this habitat!

The canyons, covered in moss, are often so full of them that it’s tough to differentiate between them and the sky above!

The Dismals Canyon is also home to one of the world’s biggest Canadian Hemlock trees, known also as Tsuga canadensis.

It towers at 138 feet in height and nearly 9 inches around.

Its crown spreads across 50 feet and it has an impressive age of 360 years.

Address: 901 County Rd 8, Phil Campbell, AL 35581, United States

28. Moundville Archaeological Park

Moundville Archaeological Site

Donn-beckh / Shutterstock

Travel back in time to a pre-Columbian world at the Moundville Archaeological Park near Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

For more than a millennium, these earthworks have gazed over the Black Warrior River on a bluff, boasting 29 mounts built by the Mississippians, a Native American society.

The civilization of Mississippians was made up of chiefdoms that lived in a long rush of land from the coast of the Atlantic to the western Plains.

Chiefdoms were autonomous but connected by conflicts, trades, or other arrangements.

The culture also discovered techniques for sustainable agriculture, unlike many hunter-gatherer societies, which is why permanent settlements were possible for them.

Ruling religious and political figures were the head of their complex civilizations, and these elites were responsible for the supervision of the construction of the mounds you see now.

These mounds were the basis for houses, temples, and buildings of council and required heavy labor.

The ones at the Moundville Archaeological Park were built between 1000 and 1450 CE and had more than one thousand residents.

The larger the mound, the more elite the individual residing within it.

The largest one at the Moundville Archaeological Park measures 60 feet in height.

This place was abandoned around 1500 CE and it wasn’t excavated properly until the 20th century as part of New Deal job creation.

It spans 185 acres and is one of the best Alabama attractions you can find, as well as one of the most unique.

Address: 634 Mound State Parkway, Moundville, AL 35474, United States

29. Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega Superspeedway

Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for fun tourist attractions, the Talladega Superspeedway is an amazing way to get your taste of races and entertainment in Alabama.

Measuring 2.66 miles, it is the fastest and longest of NASCAR’s tracks.

It originally opened as the Alabama International Motor Speedway in 1969 and it earned a reputation for being cursed due to its location atop burial grounds of ancient communities.

The Talladega Superspeedway is unique because it offers a fascinating way to spend weekends when races are scheduled: with the option for free camping on the grounds.

You can avail of infield RV tent camping, RV camping, and outdoor camping as well.

There is also the new addition of the Party Patio, which lets you take a look at the whole track as you rest and await races.

Address: 3366 Speedway Blvd, Lincoln, AL 35096, United States

30. Tinglewood Carvings

Tinglewood Carvings

Angie Flowers / flickr

The Tinglewood Carvings can be found in Orr Park of Montevallo, Alabama.

The park itself is lovely, with eight sports fields, two playgrounds, a walking trail, a creek, and several picnic shelters.

But the best things to see at Orr Park aren’t these facilities, but the carvings made in many of its trees.

When a storm swept the area in 1993, many of the older trees wound up being destroyed.

They were originally meant to be simply chopped down, but one Mr. Tingle decided not to allow that!

He arrived and began carving into them, a mix of whimsical and comedic that add to Orr Park’s beauty.

Living trees are left untouched, but dead ones are game for whatever carvings he wants to add!

Alligators, squirrels, men, silly faces, and a dragon are among the different designs of the Tinglewood Carvings.

They’ve become so famous that the Montevallo City Hall has a book that details all of them!

Address: Park Dr, Montevallo, AL 35115, United States

31. Alabama Wildlife Center

Alabama Wildlife Center

Ralph Daily / flickr

The Alabama Wildlife Center is the biggest facility for wildlife rehabilitation.

Created in 1977, it’s also the oldest, beginning as a small volunteer organization.

For the most part, the wildlife center focuses on being a rehabilitation clinic for native wild birds, providing a wildlife helpline, and offering fun educational programs.

More than 50,000 wild animals have been helped by the wildlife center, the facility continues to provide medical and rehabilitative aid to the animals that they can help.

More than 100 species of wild birds are cared for here annually – over 2,000 individual animals!

Address: 100 Terrace Dr, Pelham, AL 35124, United States

32. Alabama Theater

Alabama Theater

In 1927, the Alabama Theater was opened in Birmingham to be a premier movie theater for America’s southeast.

It was among the very first buildings to boast air-conditioning and, in the 1930s, was home to the activities of the Mickey Mouse Club.

In the beginning, the theater could only play silent films with the aid of a Mighty Wurlitzer organ.

It is this organ that eventually saved the theater from its eventual slating for demolition.

Now, the Alabama Theater is a nonprofit that still offers frequent entertainment.

Seating 2,500 people, it has come a long way since it was a mere vessel for vaudeville and performance arts.

As the only district theater in the state still operating, it’s certainly one of the best things to do in Alabama.

Address: 1817 3rd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

33. Town of Spectre

Town of Spectre

Jason Biro / flickr

The Town of Spectre is a fictional town that you may recognize from Big Fish, a film from 2003.

In the movie, the main character visits Spectre multiple times, going as a child to find it beautiful and bright, and arriving later to find it dilapidated.

The lead then works to fix it and, the final time he visits it, it’s all fixed up and good as new.

It’s whimsical and melancholy – even more so when you consider the current state of the set of Spectre.

Spectre was built along the Alabama River, on a private island.

Its facades were left to stand there when filming was over, along with all the other dressings of the set.

The reason it looks so run-down is because that version of Spectre was the last to be filmed, so it already looked intentionally bad when filming wrapped.

Some of the buildings have begun to collapse over time, and one of them led to a fire when debris collapsed and the owners attempted to save it.

Sparks burned and most of the commercial part of Spectre was destroyed.

A river house was also demolished due to flooding that damaged it.

Spectre is still a fun option for what to do, but much smaller now.

Only six homes, two trees, a church, and columns from an important building remain.

If you loved the film, you can leave your shoes at the long line already existing here, left behind by visitors.

Address: Dirt road near, Cypress Ln, Millbrook, AL 36054, United States

34. Civil Rights Memorial

Civil Rights Memorial

Danny E Hooks / Shutterstock

The Civil Rights Memorial of Alabama is located across the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Despite being harrowing in nature, it is one of the best places to visit to feel the symbolic gravity of the movement for civil rights.

It bears the names of 40 individuals who died between the years 1954 and 1968 in their fight for equality.

The years were chosen because the former is when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against racial segregation in schools and the latter is when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

The memorial is always watched by a guard in order to prevent vandalism.

It was designed by Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin and was dedicated in the year 1989.

The design of the memorial is water-themed and is meant to appear healing and relaxing.

It is a nod to King’s own words from his famous speech: “…we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream”.

Address: 400 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104, United States

35. Orange Beach

Orange Beach

Sara Louise Singer / Shutterstock

Orange Beach is one of the famous places in Alabama because it’s one of the few beach getaways that offers sand and surf fun.

It rests along the Gulf of Mexico’s coastline and spans 32 miles.

Orange Beach has golf courses, fishing events, nature preserves, and plenty of white sand to enjoy.

You can rent a boat, bask in the sun, go for a cruise, partake in fishing, or even look for dolphins!

36. GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico

GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico

Stephanie A Sellers / Shutterstock

The GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the best ways to get a true look into the Gulf of Mexico.

As the only maritime museum dedicated to its subject on the planet, it’s paramount of the list of where to go for education about this gulf at the end of Alabama.

Situated on the Mobile River, the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is an interactive location, making it one of the only interactive museums of this theme in the United States.

It is built inside the container ship of the SS McLean as a symbol of the 1950s concept of containerization.

Address: 155 S Water St, Mobile, AL 36602, United States

Auburn

Auburn is a college town, through and through.

You won’t find another place that is more quintessential to the concept of Alabama colleges.

It’s home to the famous football team, the Auburn Tigers, and the school pride is evident virtually in all the places to visit you’ll encounter.

There are plenty of fun spots throughout Auburn worth visiting.

Whether you’re looking for art, good food, nature, shopping, or sports, you’re sure to find something here that will entice you.

Experience a slice of the world of university life and feel young again – or feel like you’re all grown up!

38. Hank Williams’s Gravesite

Hank Williams's Gravesite

More than 25,000 individuals take a trip to Hank Williams’s Gravesite annually, which makes it a surprising addition to the top list of Alabama attractions.

It is located in Montgomery, Alabama in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex.

Williams’ enjoyed a short career in music, but it was nothing if not memorable.

Superfans of Williams have plucked the grass from around his grave so much that it was eventually replaced completely with Astroturf, which makes the grave – and the grave of Williams’ wife, Audrey, stand out significantly.

The artificial bright green contrasts with the natural hues of every place around it.

Address: 1269-1399 Upper Wetumpka Rd, Montgomery, AL, United States

39. Neversink Pit

Neversink Pit

Jimmy Emerson, DVM / flickr

The Neversink Pit is one of Alabama’s more unique tourist attractions.

It is located in the north of the state and is a bit of a cross between a cave and a sinkhole.

It’s a majestic sight to behold, which is probably why it’s not just a hotspot for climbers, but for photographers as well.

The Neversink Pit is a magnificent geological marvel.

It measures 40 feet in width at its peak entrance and drops by a whopping 162 feet to a floor nearly 80 feet in width.

Many people aim to climb it, and they’re greeted by different vistas each season.

In the spring, ribbons of water fall after the rain.

In the summer, rare species of ferns drape over the sides.

In the winter, ice sheets make things extra chilly. It’s equal parts fun, intimidating, and breathtaking.

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy spent years trying to keep the Neversink Pit pristine before purchasing the property entirely with donations in 1995.

The organization now maintains watch over the pit’s ecology and overseas guest activity.

This is especially important because of the endangered plants growing in the Neversink Pit and the vulnerable “community” of bats that calls this cave home.

Address: Unnamed Road, Fackler, AL 35746, United States

40. Sloss Furnaces

Sloss Furnaces

IA Fillm Group / Shutterstock

The Sloss Furnaces is an incredibly national historic landmark and one of the most unique things to do in Birmingham, Alabama .

In 1882, the furnaces began their function as a blast furnace for pig-iron.

In 1971, the Sloss Furnaces site was shut down, and it was then preserved as one of the things to see for the public.

The fascinating structures were named after Colonel James Withers Sloss, one of Birmingham’s founders who promoted the development of railroads.

He built this company on land spanning 50 acres, which was donated for the purposes of industrial growth.

Only two furnaces could be built even on that huge amount of space.

Each furnace is 60 feet in height and 18 feet in width, and they are surrounded by the items, machines, and tools used in the pig-iron production process.

Sloss eventually sold his company when he wanted to retire.

The park then expanded, accommodating new boilers, and they soon grew to be one of the world’s biggest industry players.

Cottages were set up for workers to live in and improvements were made repeatedly throughout the years.

They were shut down after the passing of the US Clean Air Act.

The Alabama State Fair Authority then received them as a donation and preservationists made sure the site was saved instead of demolished.

The Sloss Furnaces now function as an industrial museum, providing a globally renowned metal arts program and teaching visitors an interpretive history of the industry.

It is also often used as a venue for concerts and festivals, and there’s no entry fee, so it’s one of the few free things to do in the state.

Address: 20 32nd St N, Birmingham, AL 35222, United States

41. Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge

Jason Patrick Ross / Shutterstock

The Natural Bridge is one of the must see points of interest in Alabama.

It is surrounded by unbelievably lush foliage as well as delightful and awe-inspiring rock formations, but the uniqueness of this bridge, made of iron ore and sandstone, outshines them all.

Over 200 million years ago, this bridge was slowly being formed outside what is now known as the William Bankhead National Forest.

It spans the area of a cave and measures 148 feet in length and 50 feet in height.

Native Americans have lived here for centuries, and it became a national park in 1954.

You cannot walk over the bridge now due to safety, but it’s amazing enough to walk through and take photos.

If you walk a little farther, you’ll find a mysterious Native American head carving believed to depict a former chief.

Address: County RD 314, Natural Bridge, AL 35577, United States

42. Southeastern Raptor Center

Southeastern Raptor Center

Josh Hallett / flickr

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Alabama, you can’t go wrong with the Southeastern Raptor Center .

Founded in the mid-1970s, it was created after Dr. Milton received requests to help injured birds that had been taken to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Auburn University.

Eventually, donations and volunteer work allowed for the creation of the raptor barn, followed by a housing area.

The Southeastern Raptor Center has since helped thousands of birds of prey, treating them and releasing them into the wild as one of the top specialists for this field in Alabama.

As such, the center is an amazing option among places to visit in the state, especially for bird enthusiasts.

Address: 1350 Pratt-Carden Dr, Auburn, AL 36849, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Alabama

Alabama’s places to visit are fun, exciting, and unique.

Whether you’ve got a huge budget or want something free, there are sure to be Alabama vacation spots that fit your idea of the perfect holiday.

Hopefully, this travel guide has helped you determine your own picks for the top things to do in Alabama!

Download GPX file for this article

  • 3 Other destinations
  • 4.1 Climate
  • 4.2 Tourist information
  • 6.3 By train
  • 6.4 By plane
  • 9.1 Festivals
  • 9.2.1 Collegiate
  • 9.5 Cycling

Alabama is a state in the Southern United States of America . Alabama is known for its civil rights history and scenic beauty, and has a lot to offer those who enjoy the great outdoors, from Gulf Coast beaches to 40 National and stare parks.

Regions [ edit ]

alabama tourist guide

Cities [ edit ]

  • 32.3675 -86.3 1 Montgomery — state capital and first capital of the Confederacy
  • 32.597684 -85.480823 2 Auburn — home of Auburn University
  • 33.5175 -86.809444 3 Birmingham — Alabama's largest city
  • 34.580992 -86.983392 4 Decatur
  • 31.227222 -85.407222 5 Dothan
  • 34.713611 -86.586111 6 Huntsville — home of Marshall Space Flight Center
  • 30.727669 -88.052672 7 Mobile — Alabama's only major port and largest city near the Gulf
  • 33.206667 -87.534722 8 Tuscaloosa — home of the University of Alabama
  • 34.730839 -87.702854 9 Tuscumbia — Helen Keller's home

Other destinations [ edit ]

  • 30.267797 -87.701468 1 Gulf Shores & Orange Beach — 32 miles of beautiful sugar white sands on the prettiest beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. A visit to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offers the perfect balance of non-stop activity and lay-around-doing-nothing time. Putter around a bit on one of the championship golf courses. Cast your line for deep-sea adventure on a one of the Orange Beach fishing charters. Travel back in history with a visit to Fort Morgan, the site of the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay. Commune with Mother Nature as you hike wildlife trails gazing at shorebirds.
  • Horseshoe Bend National Military Park — In the spring of 1814, General Andrew Jackson and an army of 3,300 men attacked 1,000 Upper Creek warriors on the Tallapoosa River. Over 800 Upper Creeks died defending their homeland.
  • Little River Canyon National Preserve — Little River is unique because it flows for most of its length atop Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama
  • 34.329966 -88.711811 2 Natchez Trace Parkway — The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway commemorates an ancient trail that connected southern portions of the Mississippi River , through Alabama, to salt licks in today's central Tennessee
  • 34.97662 -85.81425 3 Russell Cave National Monument — For more than 10,000 years, Russell Cave was home to prehistoric peoples. Russell Cave provides clues to the daily lifeways of early North American inhabitants dating from 6500 BC to 1650 AD.
  • Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail — The Selma to Montgomery National Voting Rights Trail was established by Congress in 1996 to commemorate the events, people, and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March in Alabama
  • Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail — Come on a journey to remember and commemorate the survival of the Cherokee people despite their forced removal from their homelands in the Southeastern United States in the 1840s
  • Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site — In the 1940s Tuskegee, Alabama became home to a "military experiment" to train America's first African-American military pilots. In time the "experiment" became known as the Tuskegee Experience and the participants as the Tuskegee Airmen
  • Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site — Nestled on the campus of historic Tuskegee University, the site includes the George W. Carver Museum and The Oaks, home of Booker T. Washington
  • Desoto Caverns — A cavern and small family attraction in Childersburg, Alabama.

Understand [ edit ]

alabama tourist guide

Alabama, along with the South in general, has a reputation for "Southern hospitality." The people of this state are generally genial and helpful and often go out of their way to help a stranger.

The state is named after the Alabama tribe, a Native American group who used to live at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers.

Known primarily for its status as the original capital of the Confederacy (in Montgomery) and the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Alabama can be a study in contrasts.

The sport of American football is taken extremely seriously in Alabama. In addition to significant regional devotion to high-school football teams the entire state, in terms of college football, is divided into two factions: Auburn University fans and University of Alabama fans. The rivalry is so bitter, in fact, that it took an act by the Alabama State Legislature in the late 1940s to force the two colleges to play one another (the two had stopped playing each other in the first years of the 20th century over an officiating dispute).

Even then, the two schools would not agree to play at opposing sites so the State of Alabama used taxpayer funds to build Legion Field in Birmingham as a neutral site. It was only in 1989 that the Crimson Tide finally visited Auburn and 2000 that the Tigers visited Alabama. This can also be a point of concern for tourists, as the rivalry is so serious that tourists are best not to mention it at all.

Alabama is also noted for having the lengthiest constitution in the world. At nearly 300,000 words, the constitution is made up of nearly 946 amendments, and because of this, the state has numerous constitutional officers/administrators. Some aspects of the constitution are so complex that ordinary residents of the state can't accurately make out what certain statements in the constitution mean.

Climate [ edit ]

Due to its location in the Deep South, Alabama has a humid subtropical/continental climate. Summers are hot and humid, winters are cool to cold, and fall and spring offer pleasant temperatures.

Tourist information [ edit ]

  • Alabama Tourism website

Talk [ edit ]

Many (though certainly not all) Alabamians speak with thick local accents so non-native English speakers may have difficulty understanding them. Visitors to North Alabama (Birmingham and north) will experience accents that are more "country" in nature (Senator Richard Shelby is one example) while visitors to South Alabama (south of Birmingham) will experience accents that are more closely reminiscent of those from the 1939 film Gone With the Wind and the 1994 film Forrest Gump , which takes place in Southern Alabama. Former governor Fob James is a textbook example of someone who speaks like this.

Get in [ edit ]

By car [ edit ].

Alabama is accessible by five interstate highways: Interstate 10 (I-10) crosses the state from east to west near Mobile in the south; I-20 enters Alabama from the east, traverses Birmingham, and joins I-59 as it traverses Tuscaloosa and exits the state in a southwesterly direction; I-59 enters northeastern Alabama, continues southwest through Birmingham, and exits the state toward the southwest; I-22 enters Alabama from the northwest and ends in Birmingham; I-65 enters Alabama from the north, traverses Birmingham, and ends in Mobile; I-85 enters the state in the east and ends in Montgomery.

By bus [ edit ]

Greyhound Lines offers bus transportation to cities and towns throughout Alabama. Greyhound bus stops are found in Anniston, Athens, Birmingham, Dothan, Evergreen, Gadsden, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Opelika, Selma, Troy, Tuscaloosa, and Tuskegee.

By train [ edit ]

There is one daily Amtrak route serving Alabama, the Crescent . Trains 19 (southbound) and 20 (northbound) run from New Orleans to Washington, D.C. and New York City . There are three stations in Alabama: Anniston , Birmingham and Tuscaloosa . Coach and sleeper service is available, with checked baggage, a restaurant car, a café and a lounge.

By plane [ edit ]

The largest airport in Alabama is the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport BHM  IATA . Airlines servicing this airport offer direct flights from Atlanta , Baltimore , Charlotte , Chicago , Dallas , Denver , Detroit , Fort Lauderdale , Houston , Las Vegas , Miami , Minneapolis , New York City , Orlando , Philadelphia , Tampa , and Washington, D.C. .

Commercial flights are also available at Dothan International Airport (DHN) ; the Huntsville International Airport HSV  IATA ; the Mobile Regional Airport MOB  IATA ; the Montgomery Regional Airport MGM  IATA  ; and the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport MSL  IATA .

Get around [ edit ]

Car is no doubt the best method, and the most scenic. Interstates converge on Montgomery, Birmingham, and Mobile, and make quick transportation between those cities and ones in other states. They also connect to Anniston, Tuscaloosa, and Huntsville. Elsewhere though, travel can be slower in more rural areas.

Information on transit can be found here .

See [ edit ]

  • Helen Keller's Home , Tuscumbia . ( updated Apr 2019 )
  • Moundville , Moundville . ( updated Apr 2019 )
  • Mt. Cheaha , Delta . ( updated Apr 2019 )
  • USS Alabama Battleship , Mobile . ( updated Apr 2019 )

Do [ edit ]

Festivals [ edit ].

  • Gulf Shores is home to the National Shrimp Festival [dead link] . This outdoor event is held annually in October and features over 300 vendors that offer fine art, arts and crafts, an international marketplace and plenty of shrimp. Three stages also carry music continuously throughout the festival. Over 200,000 people attend the festival annually and it has been ranked as one of the top twenty events in the southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society, and one of the top five in the state. 2016 will mark the 45th anniversary of this festival.
  • The Oyster Cook-Off Craft Spirits & Beer Weekend has been a local staple in Gulf Shores for over a decade, featuring hundreds of food and beverage choices. The first week of November starts the cook-off, with Craft Beer tastings from breweries around the southeast, vast collections of rare spirits, and live music. The festival started humbly featuring master-grade oyster preparations alongside local farmers and has grown into a full fledged foodie festival featuring chefs of international acclaim and dishes well beyond the scope of oysters. It's a ticketed event, with a portion of sales going back to charitable causes.
  • Tuscumbia is home to the Helen Keller Festival. This outdoor event is held annually in June for three days (Friday to Sunday) and kicks off with a lengthy parade complete with floats and its riders throwing candy to bystanders, high school marching bands, horses, Civil War reenactors and Shriners zipping about in their miniature go-karts. Afterwards, Main Street is closed and is filled with local vendors selling everything from handmade crafts to fresh vegetables. An antique car show is also a highlighted feature. Many local and out of state bands perform throughout the day with at least one major performer, normally of the country music variety, performing Saturday night in Spring Park. Also performed at the birthplace of Helen Keller is a local production of the stage play The Miracle Worker which is a theatrical rendition of Helen Keller's childhood and interaction with Ann Sullivan. One little known fact about Helen Keller that most natives of Tuscumbia do not even realize is that she was an ardent and outspoken socialist during her adult life.

Sports [ edit ]

Talladega Super Speedway is in Talladega.

Collegiate [ edit ]

Home to what is considered one of the top rivalries in sports, the state of Alabama revolves around college football. Each weekend of the fall, hundreds of thousands of fans around the state pack stadiums to cheer for their respective teams.

  • University of Alabama Crimson Tide .  
  • Auburn University Tigers .  
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers .  
  • Troy University Trojans .  
  • Jacksonville State University Gamecocks.
  • Iron Bowl .  
  • LendingTree Bowl .  

Hike [ edit ]

Alabama has some decent hiking options. One of the best areas is the Sipsey Wilderness , which features old-growth forest and dozens of waterfalls. Other areas include the trails and scenic overlooks in Mount Cheaha State Park. The Pinhoti National Recreation Trail runs for approximately 171 miles (280 km) through the hilly forests of eastern Alabama, offering multiple sites for overnight camping.

Golf [ edit ]

  • Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail , 100 Sunbelt Parkway , ☏ +1 205 942-1177 , toll-free: +1-800-949-4444 , fax : +1 205-290-1230 , [email protected] . Ten public golf courses throughout Alabama. $40-125 per course .  

Cycling [ edit ]

Chief Ladiga Trail rail trail in eastern Alabama that stretches for 33 miles (53 km) from Anniston to the Alabama-Georgia state line, where it joins Georgia's Silver Comet Trail.

Eat [ edit ]

alabama tourist guide

Mobile has some of the best fried seafood east of the Mississippi River. Don't forget to try local oyster bars, and the shrimp is superb. Ask locals for recommendations that are off the beaten path and area favorites.

Alabama barbecue is outstanding and comes in many forms, but pork is always most popular. There are several award-winning barbecue "joints" in Alabama, and their claim to fame is typically "pulled pork", but they will offer ribs, too.

For dessert, look for pecan pie. During the summer, fresh peaches and blackberries are available. Fruit pies abound, and if you want something a little different, look for cobblers. Home-style peach ice cream is a particular treat.

Drink [ edit ]

  • Sweet Iced Tea . One delicious recipe for making sweet tea is to put on a pan of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling place two family-size Lipton tea bags in the boiling water, and then immediately turn the stove off. While the water is still raging hot, mix in 1⅓ cup of cane sugar and stir so that the sugar does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Wait one hour and then mix with one gallon of water in a gallon-sized container. Serve over ice. ( updated Sep 2019 )

Go next [ edit ]

  • Mississippi - Alabama's neighbor to the west has Civil War battlefields, scenic parkways, and antebellum charm.
  • Tennessee - North of Alabama, Tennessee offers the cities of Memphis , Nashville , Knoxville , & Chattanooga , plus the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains .
  • Georgia - On Alabama's eastern border, Georgia has the major metropolis of Atlanta , with many attractions, and the charming cities of Macon & Savannah .
  • Florida - Bordering the southern part of the state is Florida, with a lot more gulf coast than Alabama, including fabulous beaches, the big tourist area of Orlando , and the cities of Tampa , Jacksonville , and Miami

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Explore Alabama's Gulf Coast

Beautiful white sand shores, outdoor adventures, and unique attractions make Alabama Beaches the perfect destination for a fabulous spring  or summer vacation. From incredible live music to art and food festivals, there is no shortage of exciting events in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Start planning your trip and spend this season on Alabama's beaches.

Here, you’ll find everything you need to plan your vacation! Stay up to date with the daily beach safety report and learn how to play it safe while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Be sure to practice responsible tourism while visiting Alabama Beaches. You’ll find getting here is easy, whether by car, airplane, or ferry. Call , text , or chat with us for answers to your questions, and be sure to stop by our welcome centers when you arrive. Our area experts can help you make the most of your trip to the coast.

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Flora-Bama Yacht Club crab claws

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have spectacular accommodations and rentals , award-winning restaurants , and amazing events . Our paradise is brimming with Southern hospitality, featuring one-of-a-kind attractions like championship golf , nature trails , water sports , and amusement parks (like the well known Waterville USA ). Gulf Shores and Orange Beach gives you plenty to do for your next beach family vacation or romantic weekend getaway along the Gulf area.

Deep Sea Fishing Orange Beach, Alabama

Whether you’re in the mood for adventure or lazy days on the beach, you can do it all in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Stroll the sugar-white sand or spot dolphins on a dolphin cruise . For an adventure location experience, cast your line into one of the country’s largest artificial fishing reefs during a deep-sea fishing trip. Discover history and travel back in time when cannons protected the waterways, and explore the nearly 200-year-old Fort Morgan .

Biking in Gulf State Park

Bring your family to explore the waterways, relax on the beach , eat your fill of fresh seafood , visit Gulf State Park or practice your golf swing at one of our beautiful courses nearby. It’s all waiting to be discovered. Plan your vacation and make unforgettable memories on Alabama’s Gulf Coast today.

What Type of Trip are you Planning?

Whatever your vacation style, you’ll discover it all in the laid-back coastal lifestyle of the Alabama Gulf Coast. Select from the options below to help plan your perfect vacation. 

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Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier

Flora-Bama Bulls on the Beach

Flora-Bama Lounge & Oyster Bar

Cruisin' the Coast at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama

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Bike Share Program Gulf State Park

10 Cheap & Free Things To Do

Kaiser by Wyndham Vacation Rental Kitchen

Beach House & Condo Cooking Tips

Family Vacation Gulf Shores

10 Things to Know Before Your Beach Vacation

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Plan a Vacation on a Budget to Alabama’s Beaches

Paddle boarding Orange Beach

14 Things to Do with Teens

Fat Daddy's Arcade Gulf Shores

26 Rainy-Day Activities

Lady in the Water Barber Marina

15 Unique Things to Do & See in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

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COMMENTS

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    January 3, 2024. At the start of every year, The New York Times publishes a list of its top 52 travel destinations, offering new, interesting inspiration to its readers. This year, Montgomery snagged a top spot. At No. 28 on the list, The New York Times highlighted Montgomery for its historic roles as the former capital of the […]

  2. Alabama: All You Must Know Before You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor">Alabama: All You Must Know Before You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

    About Alabama. If you head for the hills in the state you’ll end up in the northern sector where the inspiring mountains and attractions like the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, the Blue & Gray Museum in Decatur and the Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman represent the diversity of experiences available in the area.

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    1. U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Michael Gordon / Shutterstock. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is a unique museum that should be among any space-lovers’ list of where to visit in the state of Alabama. Located in Huntsville, this museum showcases the history of the space program of the United States through information and artifacts.

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    1 Gulf Shores & Orange Beach — 32 miles of beautiful sugar white sands on the prettiest beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. A visit to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offers the perfect balance of non-stop activity and lay-around-doing-nothing time. Putter around a bit on one of the championship golf courses.

  7. Alabama's Gulf Coast in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama 2024">Experience Alabama's Gulf Coast in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, ...

    Explore Alabama's Gulf Coast. Beautiful white sand shores, outdoor adventures, and unique attractions make Alabama Beaches the perfect destination for a fabulous spring or summer vacation. From incredible live music to art and food festivals, there is no shortage of exciting events in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

  8. Alabama Tourism DepartmentAlabama Tourism Department">Home - Alabama Tourism DepartmentAlabama Tourism Department

    Welcome to the Alabama Tourism Department website, the industry professional’s source for the latest news and resources surrounding Alabama travel. ... Alabama Vacation & Events Guide; 100 Dishes Brochure; Alabama Civil Rights Trail; Subscribe. Get Alabama Tourism industry news and events delivered to your inbox. Email Address .

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    Alabama Travel Guide. The Go Alabama Travel Guide and Vacation Planner is your best resource to provide complete and accurate information on the thousands of sightseeing attractions, tourist destinations, hotels, resorts, RV parks, and recreational activities.

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    Sky-gazers across North America are in for a treat on April 8 when a total solar eclipse will pass over Mexico, the United States and Canada. The event will be visible to millions — including 32 ...